Eastleigh were seconds away from the perfect start to 2015 at fellow Vanarama Conference promotion hopefuls Woking this afternoon.

But a dramatic late Cards leveller meant it finished 1-1 at the Kingfield Stadium, keeping Eastleigh in fifth place in the top division of English non league football with games in hand on the teams above them.

After almost 70 minutes of defensive action, which saw little in the way of free flowing attacking entertainment, Craig McAllister popped up at the back post to head the Spitfires into the lead.

That sparked the game into life as the hosts searched for a leveller.

And just as it looked like the visitors had crossed the finish-line, Jack Marriott, in the last minute of injury time, popped-up with a well taken effort inside the box.

Spitfires manager Richard Hill made one change.

Dan Spence – who was absent from the 5-1 win at Braintree on Sunday – returned in place of injured captain Dean Beckwith.

Will Evans slotted in alongside replacement skipper Paul Reid at centre back, which proved to be a good partnership against a Woking side who were fast and incisive in the 2-2 draw at the Silverlake Stadium on Boxing Day.

The first half started lively, with plenty of end-to-end action.

Those attacks, by both sides, yielded little in the way of clear chances however.

In fact, much of the goal-mouth action happened from corners, and the Spitfires were dangerous from Michael Green and Jai Reason deliveries from their flag-kicks McAllister and Evans both headed over from tough angles and a number of other corners flashed dangerously across Jake Cole’s net.

At the other end, keeper Ross Flitney had to be alert as winger Kevin Betsy, difficult to deal with early on with his direct runs, headed at goal from close range.

As the half developed, Eastleigh started to utilise their wide players.

Green swung in a tempting low cross that avoided everyone in the box from the left, while Reason and Jack Midson were also creative.

McAllister and James Constable, leading the visitors’ frontline, were constantly physical and busy trying to disrupt the Woking back four.

As the half closed out, McAllister slammed a shot at goal which Cole palmed awa.

Evans had the ball in the net but the whistle had already gone for a foul in the box.

The pattern of the game continued after the break, where play was tight and compact throughout the pitch.

Woking were turning the screw as the hour mark ticked by – Betsy was dangerous again down the right but his brilliant low cross was fired over by Marriott.

On 68 minutes Eastleigh broke the deadlock when Green delivered a free kick to the back post from around 30 yards.

Lying in wait was the powerful McAllister, who knocked a header into the opposite side of the goal.

That sparked a previously dreary game into life.

The Cards, eager to atone for their recent poor form, drove forward hard.

Marriott and Betsy were nuisances down the flanks – plenty of crosses rained in on Flitney’s area, but Eastleigh remained strong.

Flitney had to be alert again as Cards sub Gez Sole hit low from range.

Eastleigh had to hold for four minutes of tense injury time and Woking seemingly had one more bite at the cherry as Marriott burst into the box, but Flitney was down low to smother.

Just as it looked liked the Spitfires had run down the clock, Marriott controlled in the box on the break.

Then, making room past Green, he smashed into the far corner of the net to level.

Att: 1383 Eastleigh: Ross Flitney, Dan Spence, Michael Green, Craig Stanley (Jamie Collins 60), James Constable, Jai Reason , (Yemi Odubade 66), Craig McAllister (Stuart Fleetwood 78), Jack Midson, Ben Strevens, Will Evans, Paul Reid. Subs: Chris Todd, Lewis Noice.